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Composition is a specialisation available in our suite of Music research degrees (MPhil, PhD).

This programme offers an opportunity to study with leading composers with internationally regarded expertise and experience in contemporary music composition.

It aims to offer knowledge and expertise for a career in professional music composition.

Composition students also get to hear their music rehearsed and recorded in workshops with professional performers and ensembles. This offers an unmatched experience of working with practitioners to realise your compositional ideas in a constructive and friendly atmosphere.

Composition seminars take place regularly (either weekly or fortnightly) through the academic year. Aspects of compositional technique, new repertoire and interviews with visiting composers will be offered as opportunities arise.

There will also be opportunities to conduct your music with the University’s Contemporary Music Group and visiting professional ensembles.


Candidates for this scheme are required to submit a major work or portfolio of works of original composition, accompanied by a written commentary (of between 10,000 and 20,000 words for PhD; of between 5,000 and 10,000 words for MPhil) providing a critical analysis and placing the work in its academic context. The submission should include supporting recorded material in an appropriate format determined by the School.

Practice-led submissions are assessed by the same generic criteria as any other Cardiff University MPhil or PhD. In this regard a practice-led submission should represent sustained research into an aspect of musical composition, rather than samples of professional practice. Research in this context is understood as a process of investigation leading to new insights, effectively shared.

Distinctive features

Research students are given an allowance to help support attending conferences, obtaining research materials, recording performances of their music, or conducting relevant research away from Cardiff.

Refurbished facilities for music postgraduates including a suite of dedicated computer and study rooms, hi-fi facilities and electronic piano, a kitchen and a common room.

Depending on individual suitability (e.g. language proficiency) and research interests, postgraduates may elect to take a period of study abroad at one of many affiliated European University Music Schools.


Administrative contact(s)

Huw Rhys Thomas

Postgraduate Research (PGR) and Research Administrator

Welsh speaking
+44 (0)29 2251 1092

Academic contact(s)

Dr Caroline Rae

Reader, Director of Postgraduate Research

+44 (0)29 2087 4391


You can search our studentships or find out more about funding.

Tuition fees

Students from the UK

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Programme information

For programme structure, entry requirements and how to apply, visit the Music programme.

View programme
See the range of PhD studentships and projects currently available.

Related courses

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